In the weeks leading up to my trip, I’ve taken time to re-read one of my very favorite childhood books. I grew up with the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace – books written in the 1940s based off of the author’s life and somewhat known nowadays. You’ll find the very first books about Betsy’s childhood (illustrated by Tasha Tudor!) in the children’s section at libraries and bookstores. The rest of the series, where Betsy goes through high school, travels, and gets married, are not as popular or easy to find. My copies are beloved and starting to fall apart.

As I re-read this book, Betsy and the Great World, and saw it anew with my adult eyes, it was funny to find some similarities. Betsy is 21 when she travels, like me! She travels in 1914, which is exactly 100 years ago! But from there the similarities end and the list of differences grow…

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    The beautiful illustrations are by Vera Neville

    To start off her trip, she takes an ocean liner across the Atlantic. Scones and tea are brought to her lounge chair at four every day, there is live music and dancing every night, and stops on the luscious Azores and Madeira islands marked the trip.




  • IMG_6921Betsy travels with several large trunks, which have to be shipped from city to city (fortunately she stays in only a handful of places, for an extended amount of time). She collects souvenirs with abandon.



  • She actually writes, and gets paid for it!







  • Besides the above mentioned payments for her writing every now and then, her father funds her whole trip and gives her a monthly allowance. Maybe that’s why she buys so many souvenirs..?


  • The poor girl has to fend off an Italian that falls in love with her.







  • And her trip actually ends right when World War I starts. After being in London when the announcement of war sweeps through the city, she is miraculously able to find a ride home through the help of a kindly millionaire (another difference – maybe?).


But other than the above points, Betsy and I are pretty much identical! Now if only I could look as stylish on my travels..